War Against the World

The american military remains unable to keep its hands—and arms—to itself.  As part of the ongoing occupation of iraq, soldiers slaughter civilians at check points.  Around a third of the troops stationed in iraq condone torture (of others, of course).  American soldiers can kidnap and kill unarmed iraqis with virtual impunity.

In afghanistan, american forces are known for the reckless disregard of civilian deaths they demonstrate in their bombing campaigns against supposed terrorists.  Just this month, a british military commander criticized US special forces for injuring and killing so many non-combatants in helmand, and asked that they be withdrawn form his little fiefdom there.

Besides these better known instances of US military action, the united states is conducting a near-secret war in somalia.  American forces have bombed somali civilians in support of the invasion by the ethiopian military, and appear to have a continuing presence in the area.  Like in iraq and afghanistan, this campaign is justified because of the “terrorist threat.”

While the news media report that most american oppose the war in iraq, there is little evidence that they really care very much.  They continue to elect politicians who continue to fund all these wars.  And they get very concerned about the deaths and injuries of american military personnel, but have a very high tolerance for the far greater number of innocents who have been butchered either directly by US forces or as a result of the internal war created by the occupation.  In the case of the military intervention in somalia, few even know it is going on, primarily because there are no reports of americans dying there.

The american military is staffed by volunteers.  Everyone who is “serving” in iraq, afghanistan, somalia, or wherever else the military has a presence, signed up and are responsible for their situation.  On the other hand, the non-combatants who have died as a result of american war-making were people just trying to go about their business unmolested in their own homes and cities before they were murdered.

It seems to me that people described as anti-war are often simply opposed to american soldiers dying, not to american soldiers killing, especially if it is for a “good” cause.  We’ll never see the end of war until people get over their nationalist view of “us and them” and come to recognize the value of the lives of individual peaceful people, however different they appear physically, whatever language they speak, and however far away they live.

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